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Thread: Egypt 2017 onwards (incl. Sinai)

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Default Egypt 2017 onwards (incl. Sinai)

    Hope you don't mind me undusting this old thread... (Mod adds, no problem and new thread created. See Post No.2).

    Namely, if my sources in Egypt are right, there are some hot news:

    - economy is in worst situation since years, although military commercial venues have virtually taken over the entire economy; the private sector is simply squeezed out because it can't compete (Egyptian military is meanwhile producing everything, from baby formulas to syringes, and that while paying no taxes, getting real estate for for free and paying next to no vages to employees);

    - foreign debt reached unsustainable levels and is still growing (indeed, servicing foreign debts is meanwhile eating something like 90% of the GDP);

    - corruption is worse than ever (it's impossible to explain how bad it is);

    - but most of all: government repression is back to levels from 2011 and before (19 new prison complexes were constructed in the last three years, and they're still out of space all the time);

    - police brutality is worse than under Mubarak;

    - after earlier success, the military mishandled the situation in Sinai so badly, it meanwhile has lost all hope to bring the local insurgency under control; latest negative example: after two attacks on checkpoints in el-Arish, the local 'security services' simply rounded up 10 men and (in their own terminology), 'liquidated them'; some of those liquidated had nothing to do with insurgency and thus caused a mass protest in el-Arish; the situation there is currently 'brewing';

    - and now the gov is attempting to hand over the control for Tiran Strait and Sanafir Island to the Saudis.

    Here the Egyptian Administrative High Court reversed Sisi'splan: it declared that any kind of handing over these spots to the Saudis is null and void. Mind, the judge responsible for this decision is certain Ahmed el-Shazli.

    Ringing any bells? Yes,that's the nephew of late Sa'ad el-Shazli, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army in 1973.

    The same activists that brought these proceedings to the court are now planning to do charge for high treason 'against all those who attempted to, took part in, supported, or spread false information regarding Egyptian sovereignty of the Islands, from top to bottom, and including Sisi'.

    With other words: there are all the 'triggers' for the revolution/uprising of 2011 in place - once again. In best case, Sisi's regime is in for a very rough ride this year. In worst case, there is going to be a bigger uprising than back in 2011.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-17-2017 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Add note

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Egypt 2017 onwards (incl. Sinai)

    Attention to Egypt may have declined of late, as Iraq, Syria and the Yemen have been torn apart. It remains - for many, in the region and beyond - the key nation state. The catalyst for this is a new, wide update by Crowbat and that in a moment will appear first.

    This is a new thread for 2017 onwards, it includes Egypt proper and Sinai (previously there was a small stand-alone thread for the Sinai).

    The previous thread covering 2007-2016 is:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=18454

    There are several previous threads of value:

    1) Arab armies and the 'Arab Spring' (closed) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=17859

    2) Arab Spring Phase 3? (closed) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=17692

    3) Egypt's Spring Revolution (now closed) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=12371

    4) The transformation of the Arab World (which looks at the wider impact and the impact on AQ) http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16634
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default An Egyptian Police General in 2013 said

    On the previous thread I posted in August 2013, in Post 45, the below. Sadly what Crowbat refers to the repression underway and the building of prisons, makes me ask what future has Egypt has now?

    Egyptian police General Amr in an interview:
    We are 90 million Egyptians and there are only 3 million Muslim Brotherhood We need six months for. liquidate or imprison all this is not a problem, as we have already done in the 1990s.
    Link to Le Monde, French newspaper, to a IMO badly structured article, which includes this quote:http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/articl...3103_3212.html

    No wonder some speculate the 'Algerian model' maybe followed:http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/midd...erian-playbook
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-17-2017 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Copied and link fixed.
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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Default

    The problem is that - contrary to back when Moursi's MB-government was removed by the military - now the population is not only against the MBs (like it was, back then), but against the military too.

    (Or at least that's what I've got to hear from all the Egyptians I happen to know.)

    Which means that the dickheads like Amr will have to declare all of 'them' (i.e. most of the population) for 'MBs' and incarcerate them. And that's not going to work, even if they construct not only 19, but 190 additional prisons.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The changing security dynamic in the Red Sea

    This Open Democracy article will be copied to the historical Egypt thread and this open thread both contain a few posts on the two islands being transferred from Egypt occupation back to Saudi Arabia. That thread is:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=18454&page=5

    It is raises some interesting points, notably the KSA-Israeli relationship. I had missed this news, with my emphasis:
    As such, the expected transfer of the islands is revealing a number of regional dynamics. The most vivid example of which is the new perceived strategic role of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is expanding its role in the horn of Africa, especially with the recent conclusion of a deal with Djibouti to build a military base on its territory. The strategic location of the base, across the Yemeni shore, gives Saudi Arabia the ability to project its power over the Bab El Mandab strait. This serves to consolidate the position of Saudi Arabia as the reigning power over the Red Sea.
    Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-a...ic-of-red-sea?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2017 at 11:28 AM.
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    Default Radicalise everyone: Egypt's COIN approach

    An opinion piece from Open Democracy by an Egyptian journalist, which starts with:
    The army is a killing machine.” - These were words chosen by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to address his soldiers as minister of defense. In a video leaked nearly three years ago, he explained why the army is incapable of fighting terrorism, why it should not partake in it and vowed this will never be its role. “It is not an arresting machine, we don’t know how to arrest,” he explained. “Why don’t we say this in the media? Because it’s not useful, people are unable to understand.”True to Sisi’s words, the army has been a killing machine, but breaking his vow, the army has placed itself at the forefront of the fight against terror. Over 6,000 people have been killed in operations in North Sinai under claims of terrorism affiliated activities.
    Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/wael-eskandar/egypt-army-violence-sinai-terrorism-waronterror-church-bombs-militants?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-15-2017 at 08:58 AM. Reason: 4,037v
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    Default Egypt: a crisis we'd prefer not to notice?

    A multi-part commentary from Saferworld (A UK-based international NGO) and the full title is: We need to talk about Egypt: how brutal ‘counter-terrorism’ is failing Egypt and its allies.

    A couple of sentences:
    Four years on, widespread repressive tactics by the Egyptian government are more severe than even during President Mubarak’s most desperate years in charge.....Yet the regime’s behaviour is as cruel and counter-productive as Yemen’s and Syria’s were in the run-up to their devastating civil wars.
    Link:https://saferworld-indepth.squarespa...k-about-egypt/
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    Default Egypt 2017 onwards (incl. Sinai)

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-24-2017 at 06:18 PM.

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    Default It wasn't us - ISIS claims

    The mass murders at a Sufi mosque last week - used by many, it is the main mosque in the area, with 300 plus dead, had some coverage here and most noted the local ISIS had not claimed responsibility.
    BBC News report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42127745

    The Israeli think tank IITIC has a commentary on the denial by ISIS of responsibility and concludes they are lying.
    Link:http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/...nai-peninsula/

    Curiously - to me - the still shown from the ISIS video shows four men, three armed with what appear to be M16s. Not standard Egyptian Army issue and IIRC no longer in widespread IDF use. Smuggled in from somewhere, don't the Saudis and other use M16s?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-29-2017 at 10:28 AM. Reason: 9,755v
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    Default Near miss on the Defence & Interior Ministers

    A near miss @ El Arish Airport:
    On December 19, 2017, an anti-tank missile, probably a Kornet missile, was launched at the airport in Al-Arish during the visit of Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. Two Egyptian officers – a lieutenant colonel and a colonel – were killed in the blast. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and released a short video (33 seconds) showing the launch of the missile by an ISIS operative and its hit near the helicopter’s cockpit (Akhbar Al-Muslimeen, December 21, 2017).
    Link:http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/...er-21-27-2017/

    ISIS has used these missiles nine time snow and may have more in stock, they originated from Libya.

    That is a 'near miss' that would have shaken Egypt's junta.
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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Default

    It didn't shake anybody there. Sisi did remove the C-in-C Army - but then appointed him his own Advisor. Everything remains the way it used to be.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Sinai: Hamas -v- ISIS

    Hat tip to WoTR for this comprehensive article on this bitter, sectarian feud; which starts with:
    Earlier this month, Muhammad al-Dajani executed Musa Abu Zamat in a video released by Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State’s affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula. Surrounded by other militants, al-Dajani shot a fellow Islamic State member in the back of the head amid accusations that Abu Zamat had smuggled weapons to Hamas’ military wing from which al-Dajani defected before joining the Islamic State. In the same video, the Islamic State included a call for violent attacks targeting Hamas, a Gaza-based Palestinian militant organization viewed as “apostates” by the Islamic State.
    This is not the first time the Islamic State has threatened to overthrow Hamas. But the vicious nature of the threat, involving an execution, makes the latest video different. Why did the Islamic State declare all-out war this time? The question is especially interesting given that pragmatic cooperation with Hamas’ military wing helped Wilayat Sinai become an effective fighting force and mount an unprecedented challenge to the Egyptian regime.
    Link:https://warontherocks.com/2018/01/ma...nai-affiliate/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-23-2018 at 04:25 PM. Reason: 11,220v
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    Default A helpful, caring neighbour can help

    First it was an IDF hospital treating wounded Syrian jihadist fighters, now the NY reports on a 'secret' operation by Israel to help Egypt in the Sinai, with air strikes and intelligence.
    Link:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/w...nai-egypt.html
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    Default Tale of Two Mistrals - Egyptian Naval assets in the Med

    The two French-built Russian-destinated helicopter carriers have been touched upon in several threads, but recent events invite a more focused look.

    To recap, from September 2015
    The Russian-French Mistral Class helicopter carrier saga has been a long and rocky one. Originally the two amphibious assault ships were built for Russia, with many Russian combat systems installed, but France denied delivery after Russia seized Crimea a year and a half ago. Since then, many potential customers have been identified for the ships, but Egypt appears to be where these powerful ships will call home in the not so distant future.
    The Mistral Class are pretty amazing ships. Not because they offer any sort of new capabilities that other amphibious flattops don’t, but because they offer a lot of capability for their price, costing around $700 million each. They also have much lower their operating costs when compared with say an American Wasp Class LHD, which only enhances their reputation for value.
    https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/wh...aft-1732595299


    For those of you building a model or looking for something to hang in the CIC

    This thread might as well be subtitled
    How Does Russia Fit into Egypt’s Strategic Plan?

    From
    Andrew McGregor. Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 15 Issue: 23. February 14, 2018.
    As Russian-Egyptian military and economic cooperation increases, many comparisons have been made with Egypt’s early post-independence era (1956–1971), when Cairo grew close to Moscow. Egypt’s current strategic position, however, bears closer similarities to the foreign policy of the first decades of rule by the founder of modern Egypt, Ottoman Viceroy Muhammad ‘Ali (1805–1848). Like Egypt’s post-independence leaders, Muhammad ‘Ali sought to simultaneously modernize Egypt with foreign assistance while increasing its political independence. This was no easy feat, as it involved balancing allegiance to his suzerain, the Ottoman Sultan, while using (unofficial) French military assistance and training to strengthen his own hand without falling under French control. Current Egyptian president Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi now uses Russian military aid in much the same way to gain leverage in a deteriorating relationship with the United States.
    Some of the objectives shared by Muhammad ‘Ali and President al-Sisi include:
    Intensifying the purchase and manufacture of arms,
    Expanding naval capacity,
    Conducting military operations abroad to project Egyptian power,
    Consolidating Egypt’s control of the Red Sea region,
    Securing the supply of Nile waters from the south,
    Diversifying international military suppliers and trainers,
    Exterminating the previous regime, and
    Repressing Islamist extremists.
    The question for Moscow is whether its objectives meld with those of Cairo. The Kremlin is seeking enhanced military and economic relations with Egypt (see EDM, September 16, 2015; September 21, 2016; October 14, 2016), but the latter has no desire to be used merely as leverage against the US. Moscow will seek to meet its regional objectives by exploiting differences between Washington and Cairo and by filling any void left by diminishing US military aid and engagement with the Sisi regime. For their part, Egypt’s leaders remain wary of growing too close to the Russians—the last period of close cooperation ended badly. Nonetheless, Egypt may be seeking external military support in its failing campaign against Islamist extremists in Sinai (see Terrorism Monitor, December 15, 2016), and Russia’s military track record in Syria makes it an enticing partner (see EDM, October 19, 2017; December 14, 2017). Whether this can be achieved without paying a high price (such as the establishment of permanent Russian bases in Egypt) is Cairo’s dilemma.
    https://jamestown.org/program/russia...trategic-plan/

    From May 2017

    The Russian-Egyptian deal on the sale of Ka-52K attack helicopters has reportedly reached the final stretch. Talks on the price of the choppers, to be used aboard Egypt's Mistral amphibious assault ships, are expected to begin later this month. Military expert Alexander Sitnikov explains how Russia ended up winning on the Mistral deal after all.
    "By and large," Sitnikov wrote, "Russia had planned to build helicopter carriers based on the Mistral at its own shipyards from the beginning. The order of one, and then two of the amphibious assault ships from France could be seen as a kind of commercial concession. To be frank, Moscow has received the documentation for the Mistral for free. More precisely, it received it for Cairo's money."
    And Egypt itself is the biggest winner in all this, according to the analyst. "After deploying their Southern Fleet, Cairo will become a regional maritime power, and will be able to protect the giant gas field recently discovered near its exclusive economic zone. At the moment, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus and Greece have claims to this asset. But as experience in dispute resolution has shown, warships are the best argument."
    In addition, the Southern Fleet will also allow Cairo to protect the merchant sea routes in the Gulf of Aden, and even wield influence over Iran and Saudi Arabia in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
    Ultimately, "none of the participants in this transaction lost out. Paris, disobeying Washington, got additional military contracts; Russia got the documentation for the Mistral, along with a new strategic ally; Egypt acquired the status of a naval power," Sitnikov concluded.
    https://sputniknews.com/military/201...ut-on-mistral/

    This is what all the fuss is about.


    See also http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...601#post210601
    Last edited by AdamG; 02-23-2018 at 02:55 PM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The shadow over Egypt: the disappearing critics

    Orla Guerin, a BBC reporter in Egypt for four years till January 2018, has a lengthy, illustrated critical report. Here is a "taster":
    Anyone who opposes the regime, or is suspected of doing so, whether rightly or wrongly, is at risk. Sometimes even relatives and friends of suspects can be arrested. Many of the targets are Islamists - people who believe Islamic principles should shape society and the political system. In Egypt, most don’t call for the use of violence to achieve their aims.
    She ends with:
    I have come away, after four years, with plenty of questions. What lies ahead if Egypt can’t steer a course towards real democracy? How many prisons is the regime going to fill? And just how long will it be before all the repression backfires?
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/...dow_over_egypt
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-27-2018 at 07:28 PM. Reason: 12,496v
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